This morning we were visited by one of the major power supply manufacturers and were thrown for somewhat of a loop when we were asked our opinion on the new regulations covering PSUs in Australia, ones that supposedly came into force on the first of April. While we consider ourselves to be pretty on top of the coming and goings in the world of components, we had zero idea what they were talking about.
After some google searching it became obvious that the new regulations, the Minimal Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), weren’t exactly being promoted that heavily. There is a fact sheet up on the energy ratings website that outlines the changes, but beyond that and a months old thread on Whirlpool there has been virtually no talk about what will be a pretty significant shift in the PSU market.
One thing we were also told is that the regulations have actually been delayed until the first of October, which we have since confirmed with the team from CRN, our sister publication that focuses on the IT distribution channel. This is despite the fact that any official information on MEPS still says April first.
Despite the fact that the incorrect start date indicates that the fact sheet isn’t that laden with fact, there are a few things we do know about these regulations that were confirmed to us this morning. The major thing is that from October first pretty much all power supplies sold in Australia will have to sport a minimum 80+ Silver efficiency rating, thus knocking a large number of budget units off the market altogether.
This doesn’t just mean a likely end to the blight on computing that is the Shaw PSU brand, but also a lot of models coming from the big names in the industry. There will be a fundamental shift that needs to occur from every manufacturer, where 80+ Bronze has become the main efficiency rating slapped on models at the low end of the market.
Make no bones about it, the average price of a power supply will go up when MEPS comes into effect. While we have no doubt that the price of 80+ Silver and Gold models will drop in response to market forces, these do cost more to manufacture than the 80+ Bronze models common today.
There is a clause in the regulation where products that ship in quantities of less than 200 units will not need to comply with the rating, but this will likely have little effect on the PSU market. If anything, the small volume models are those that sport ridiculously high wattages, and bring premium products, these almost invariably come with 80+ Platinum efficiency ratings anyways. 80+ Bronze (and unrated supplies) tend to be the ones designed to arrive in the highest volume, and this is where MEPS is going to hit the hardest.
The delay until October means that we won’t see any major shifts in efficiency until then, but be prepared to see a significant change in the PSU market once it happens. Ultimately the result is going to be great for consumers, because it means less energy wastage in the long run, but we would be stunned if it didn’t mean that PSUs on a whole are going to jump in price in response.